Nearly a year has passed after Magpie and Ignatius returned to their world. It was the year of Jaunna, Lady Summer. Bhernia was in its lush green coat and blooming while the sun stood high in the crystal clear sky blazing its heat. At times a favourable cool wind from the north or the mountains brushed the land, but in the larger cities, the heat made many venture out to cool off. The rich and Kings and Queens had their Summer houses while the poor had to endure with little what they had.
Magpie and Ignatius halted at a cliff and enjoyed the view of Bhernia. At the same time, a fresh breeze from the Cormey mountains brushed them. They overlook a small valley that faces the large plains, and a huge city stands in between as if to separate the one of the other. That is the city Aerik, Ignatius’ home. The tall three towers were hard to miss, they appear as simple watchtowers but also defend the city if it would befall to danger or war. One faced out to the plains, the second into the valley and the third stood in the centre. Many named the third tower ‘the Turret’ but for Ignatius is was a mysterious tower. He remembers walking around it more than once as a boy, trying to find any form of door or window to enter or where the guards came from. He smiled at his recollection while looking at the city.
Gently Magpie held his hand and interlock their fingers. “You have fond memories of your home?” She wondered softly with a smile.
Ignatius turned to her, his dark brown eyes met her’s. Her left eye was violet, and her right was turquoise. Magpie’s short dark copper-brown hair was tossed by the breeze. “Yes and no. Like you, I was an orphan and lived on the streets. Stealing to survive the next day until I met Ussb and he took me in. He taught me there is more to life than stealing and what is magic. He was my mentor.” He gently squeezed her hand and smiled before looking down on the city once more before hiking down.
They reached the city gates as the sun began to set in the horizon. A handful of tall statured men dressed in leather armour with sword and spears stood guard at the gate. They kept an eye on the passerby but talked with their fellow men over specific matters, and one stood guard topless, letting his pale skin turn brown of the sun. Ignatius was thankful that this city has no casters as guards or he would have been spotted by a mile or more because of his magical possession. Upon that thought, he threw a brief glance down to his boot dagger. It was still there, securely strapped in a sheath and well hidden at first sight. Ignatius’ boot dagger is no ordinary dagger as it appears at first glance. It’s a magical dagger that can transfer or possess a certain form of magic. In this case, it holds in a dark and powerful spirit that is never meant to be free. The spirit calls himself Shadow and was born from the emotions of frustration and betrayal of the deceased. Since these emotions will always exist, so shall Shadow and hence can’t be killed.
Ignatius gave a sigh of relief as he and Magpie approached the Merchant’s House. It’s a large building and the only in the city with blood-red walls and shiny roof tiles. It wasn’t the largest but a well-known house and location to meet. Ignatius remembers from his childhood as he waited here multiple times for his friends to steal and pickpocket on passerby or tourists. The memory flashed in his mind as if it only happened yesterday. The merchant’s house is a guild house for the merchants of Aerik, but Ignatius didn’t care much for that. He was more interested in learning about magic, becoming a caster like Ussb and avoiding getting into trouble during his boyhood.
Suddenly a tall stranger shoved him at the shoulder as the man passed Ignatius. “Pardon me.” He muttered with a deep voice and avoiding eye contact. Immediately Ignatius felt a brisk move of the hand reaching for his leather pouch of coins. Rapidly he seized the stranger’s wrist and held it up. “Interesting custom how to greet in Aerik.”
Their glances met, followed by a sharp dagger resting at the stranger’s throat by Magpie. “What is your name?” Asked Ignatius calmly.
“It’s Snatch.” He spoke with a hoarse voice while his eyes wandered between Magpie and Ignatius.
Ignatius blinked surprised, he recalls from his past a boy with that name. “Snatch? It’s me, Ig. We used to steal together at the market, remember?” Hoped flashed in Ignatius’ eyes and hoped to not be mistaken with the man in front of him.
Magpie removed the dagger and stepped closer to Ignatius while Snatch blinked in recollection. Soon a broad smile cut across his face, a boyish smile Ignatius recognized it is without a doubt his childhood friend. “Ig? Is that really you?”
Both men peeled to a chuckle as they did their friendship handshake and embraced. “It’s been too long. Last time I saw you, you were a wee nipper with sharp eyes for big fishes. Still shorter than me, so I see.” Snatch gave him a knuckle sandwich.
“And you were the leader of your little gang, a little snot-nosed stuck-up.” Laughed Ignatius after Snatch’s gesture and straightened his shoulder-length dark hair.
Snatch laughed, and his ocher brown eyes panned to Magpie.
“This is my girlfriend, Magpie.” Introduced Ignatius and held her hand.
“A pleasure to meet you.” Snatch bowed from the waist with a hand to the chest. Magpie gave the nod to his greeting and smiled.
“My apologies for meeting under this circumstance. Let me invite you two to a drink and catch up the rest from there.” Suggested Snatch and placed an arm over Ignatius’ shoulder.